Yasmine Ajam has fled her past in the rough Stockholm borough Bergort and is working as a trendspotter in New York. One day she receives a startling message that drives her to immediately return home – the riots stirring on the streets of Stockholm appear connected with her brother Fadi’s sudden disappearance. People say he was radicalized and died fighting for IS in Syria. But what really happened to Faadi? In the search for the truth about her brother, Yasmine becomes entangled in a dangerous web of allegiances and violence that stretches far beyond the gangs on her childhood streets.
Meanwhile, in London, Klara Walldéen has landed a job at a human rights research institute. She is working closely with the head of the institute to prepare a report on the effects of a possible privatization of the police authorities, to be presented to top European Union policy makers at a conference in Stockholm. The traumatic events of The Swimmer continue to haunt her, and she has taken to drinking one too many glasses of wine to numb her pain. Klara immerses herself in her work but after her laptop computer is stolen and, shortly thereafter, one of her colleagues is pushed in front of subway train, she realizes that she may unwittingly be contributing to a very shady agenda.
Yasmine and Klara’s paths cross during a few sweltering days in August as the picture of a conscienceless society emerges where people with powerful interests will stop at nothing to attain their goals.
The Believer is an intricately plotted and brilliantly conceived stand-alone sequel to the international bestseller The Swimmer. With characteristic ingenuity, Zander takes on the hottest political topics of our times and turns them into show-stopping fiction.
The Believer was nominated for the Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year Award by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy.
“Zander’s latest page-turning political thriller weaves three interconnected stories into a hypertopical tale of international intrigue. […] Zander’s twisting, high-octane plot could not be more timely, but it’s the characters, all three of them, that bring this vivid novel to life. Suspenseful and primed for Hollywood adaptation, this is escapist fiction at its best.”
“Zander has written another compelling, timely, and character-centered thriller, and many readers will look forward to what he does next.”
Booklist, starred review (US)
“The Believer by Joakim Zander is a prime slice of Nordic noir. Zander is part of the influx of new blood into the genre, and this second novel is both forceful and subtle. […] What we have here are two crucial ingredients of Scandicrime: powerfully orchestrated tension set against a strong dose of social commentary.”
THE INDEPENDENT (UK)
“The Believer is both excrutiatingly thrilling and tragically urgent. […] One of this year’s absolute must-reads.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)
“Elegantly constructed international thriller […] Sophisticated and eerily plausible.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“An excellent thriller.”
“So well-written, so authentic; the language, our system of social codes, all rendered in minute detail. There is a saying that reality even beats fiction – here the author has written reality into the fiction and made the fiction into reality. Knowledge of societal structures appear like geological strata in this novel. This is more than a common suspense novel, it resonates deeply.”
“With his cool narrative technique, the writer manages to maintain order in the midst of the explosion of events his story contains […] Because in Joakim Zander’s hands, all is crystal clear. Something that can hardly be said for all his predecessors in the genre.”
Norrköpings Tidningar (SE)
“It’s thrilling all the way, and Stig Larsson/David Lagercrantz can basically roll over when it comes to enthralling portrayals of our time with social critical overtones. Zander is better and more realistic.”
Gefle Dagblad (SE)
“Zander deals with burning themes of our present moments: he relates social failure with issues of international security. A thriller that taps into the times we live in.”
3Sat Kulturzeit Krimibuchtips (DE)
“That this book has been nominated for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year is a no brainer. […] Joakim Zander is definitely one of our new stars, and he will absolutely make himself heard for many years to come.”
DAST Magazine (SE)
“A captivating crime novel about a society that’s falling apart, politically explosive and very moving.”
“An enthralling and relevant thriller with international overtones. […] Joakim Zander’s second book takes him straight to the top of Swedish suspense books that have social critique to convey and something to say. […] Moreover, the book is exceedingly elegantly constructed. The suspense is high. […] The characters live and breathe, and at the same time his portrayal of the ghetto and life there particularly convincing.”
“One of this year’s strongest Swedish crime novels is Joakim Zander’s The Believer, a thriller combining suspense, pace, and topical issues with characters you as a reader really care for. […] Thrilling and very well-written.”
“The Believer is a well-written, unnerving, and very believable story.”
“It’s Fadi’s story that really grabs hold of you and touches you, that creeps under your skin and stays there. […] The real suspense is found on a deeper level.”
“After the international success of his first novel, The Swimmer, Joakim Zander surprises us with this powerful thriller constructed and outlined down to the smallest detail. With a skill that’s characterizing for Zander, he takes the most pressing of current issues and transforms them into an enjoyable read.”
Todo Literatura (ES)
“He follows last year’s both captivating and thought-provoking thriller, The Swimmer, in a way that may not be as adrenaline-rushing, but in return scores high on factors such as atmosphere, tactile presence, and human gravity.”
“Joakim Zander writes with genuine feeling. He does not use many words to bring about what he wants, yet he portrays atmosphere, thoughts and feelings in an unbelievably accurate way. The characters are believable, and the plot exciting to such a degree that I sat for five hours just to finish the book.”
Tine Sundal, blog (NO)
“A tense, taut, gut-ripping thriller that is also beautifully written, smart, and sophisticated.”